An unqualified and unregistered gas fitter from Wickersley, Rotherham, has been fined after putting a family in danger of explosion and carbon monoxide poisoning.
Thomas Atkinson, of Radley Avenue, was fined £5, 000 with £352 in costs after admitting to several breaches of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 in a hearing at Rotherham Magistrates Court on March 13th.
He pleaded guilty to breaching the following regulations:
- 3(3), which prevents unapproved people from performing gas appliance repairs and installations
- 3 (7), which prevents people from falsely pretending to be qualified
- 7 (3), which legislates against the installation of gas fittings when they are likely to corrode due to exposure to substances
- 26 (1), which forbids the installation of gas fittings when they are likely to pose a danger to people
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Atkinson falsely claimed to be officially registered with the Gas Safe Register, presented the owner of a Herringthorpe family home with a false ID card, illegally fitted a gas fire, and eventually presented the homeowner with a gas safety certificate, which was invalid – rather than being in Atkinson’s name, it was in the name of his former employer.
The victim of his offenses became suspicious about the gas safety certificate and contacted the Gas Safe Register. They confirmed that the certificate was false and sent a member of their team to the property to investigate further and examine the gas appliance.
This investigator discovered that there were seven different defects with the installation, with two of these defects described as “immediately dangerous” and requiring prompt gas appliance repairs. These safety failings could have led to fire, explosion or carbon monoxide poisoning – the inlet of the gas fire was leaking gas, while part of the gas fire was leaking additional gases.
As a result, the case was handed to the Health and Safety Executive. This organisation discovered that Mr Atkinson had been registered with the Gas Safe Register through his former employer, but was removed from the register in January 2012 and had installed the gas appliance on May 12th 2013. He had never been registered as Gas Safe under his own name.
Health and Safety Executive Inspector Mark Welsh said that illegal gas work has the “very real potential” of causing illness, injury and death. He urged people who are planning to have gas work performed – such as gas boiler services, gas boiler repairs, boiler replacements or gas fire installation – to ensure they employ registered Gas Safe engineers to do the work.
Mr Welsh noted that Mr Atkisnon would have known he had to be Gas Safe-registered, but went ahead with the gas fire installation regardless of being unregistered, and then produced a “deliberately” falsified safety certificate.
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